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Dr. Oz explores how gluten-free low carb diets promote weight loss and health

Dr. Oz praises gluten-free diets.
Photo by Ben Gabbe

For anyone who thinks that they're better off bypassing butter-fried avocado omelets and turning to plain jam on toast, Thursday's episode of "The Dr. Oz Show" had a message: Low carb high fat (LCHF) gluten-free diets win when it comes to benefits ranging from weight loss to protection against dementia. The featured guest: Dr. David Perlmutter, author of "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers" (click for details).

Talking with Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Perlmutter explained why healthy fats like avocado and eggs trump carbohydrates such as bread and cereal. In addition to buttering up the benefits of low carb high fat diets, Dr. Perlmutter cautioned against trying to include some gluten in your diet. The warning comes at a time when diet books such as "Paleo Vegan" are advocating cheating up to 20 percent by allowing grains. Disagreeing with those who claim moderation is best, Dr. Perlmutter pointed out the link between inflammation in the body and gluten.

In addition to dementia, diseases that can be prevented by changing your diet to the "Grain Brain" model include diabetes and heart disease, said Dr. Perlmutter. The low carb diet in the book is designed to help you achieve your weight loss goals as well while enjoying a variety of protein (examples: grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish) as well as healthy fats such as olive oil.

The episode with Dr. Perlmutter follows up on Dr. Oz's recent exploration of how saturated fat isn't the evil that so many thought. His guest on that show was Dr. Peter Attia, who has championed low carb high fat diets through his work. Dr. Attia's philosphy is revealed in a review that he wrote about "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable" (click for details).

Along with Gary Taubes (author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat), Jeff and Steve, in my mind, have clearly laid out the case implicating carbohydrates as a root cause of Western morbidity and mortality. Certainly one must at least contemplate the following questions, following the reading of this book, and the work of Taubes.

1. What if virtually everything we've been taught about the interaction of health and nutrition is wrong?

2. What if, even accepting the idea that "sugar is bad", moderation or balance in food consumption leads to modest health, at best, but not optimal health?

3. What if the unprecedented rise Western societies have seen in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease has been caused by what we eat, though in compliance with the "best" recommendations of the government and medical community?

If you are serious about improving your health, reducing the body fat you carry, having more energy, being mentally sharper, and being a more efficient aerobic athlete - you need to consider this book.

Dr. Oz's increasing acceptance of the benefit inherent in low-carb diets may signify what Dr. Attia calls "turning over our nutritional 'dark ages' - the last 40 years of American nutritional 'wisdom.'"

Science writer Nina Teicholz, like Gary Taubes, has researched dietary fat and concluded that consuming it can provide weight loss and health. She makes her case in a soon-to-be-released book "The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet" (click for details).

So the question remains: Why do organizations such as the American Heart Association persist in prescribing low-fat diets that glorify grains and demonize butter? Is it all due to the flour industry's power?